Eric Siegmund over at Fire Ant Gazette is planning on burning a little midnight oil in August, and not just at midnight ... he's getting ready to pull an all-nighter for his part in Blogathon 2005.
Like many ventures in the media, the concept of Blogathon began with the initiative of a single person, at a single outlet. The 'History' page of the Blogathon website tells, "On July 29th of 2000, Cat Connor of Frytopia posted an entry in her blog every fifteen minutes for twenty-four hours. At the end of her adventure she had posted a whopping 96 entries and had what was truly a unique experience in the blogging world. The following year when she decided to stage the 24-hour blogging event again, she decided that her event would do more than just gain attention - it would make a difference in the world. So Blogathon was born."
Blogathon has enjoyed growth in the ensuing years. Granted, the growth has been erratic (with the event going on hiatus last year), but it has been growth nonetheless ... would that all media could say the same. This year's event begins Saturday, August 6, at 9:00 a.m. (Eastern Time). Participating bloggers are expected to follow Connor's original example of posting near-constantly for the next 24 hours ... one of the FAQ's on the Blogathon website is, "How can I stay awake?"
The rest of us are encouraged to register as sponsors for a participating blogger, encouraging them and helping them raise funds for the charity of their choice.
And THIS is where bloggers have a chance to put their money where their mouth is ... uh ... fingertips are. You see, for all their whining about mainstream media (whatever that might be) and how awful it is, citizens of the blogosphere would be hard-pressed to match the example set by local, traditional media outlets in raising awareness and raising funds for charities in West Texas and southeast New Mexico. And DON'T go telling me we're required to do it by law ... because we're not ... guidelines enforced by regulatory agencies for public service programming were suspended years ago.
"Hard pressed," I said ... for now, at least. The role of the blogosphere IN/AS mainstream media is already established, and is growing almost daily. Bloggers have a tremendous opportunity to promote/complement existing public service efforts, and to develop efforts of their own ... which can, in turn, be promoted/complemented by traditional media outlets.
In the meantime, I intend to register at Blogathon this year, and to sponsor Eric in his round-the-clock efforts to raise awareness/funds for charity ... I had recommended he raise funds for the National Association to Send Bloggers to Disneyland ... I'm sure that suggestion will get all the consideration it deserves.
Seriously, though, Eric will be blogging for Midland Fair Havens. Fair Havens' mission is to "equip single mothers and their children for self-sufficient living by addressing their educational, vocational, spiritual, and emotional needs in residential and non-residential settings." Sounds to me like a good cause.
How about YOU? Why not sign-up today as a sponsor ... and get the word out to some of your friends, too.